ITHACA, N.Y. — An Ithaca grandmother is headed back to jail Tuesday to serve a six-month sentence for violating a controversial order of protection.
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Mary Anne Grady Flores was arrested on Feb. 13, 2013 while taking photos of an anti-drone protest at the Hancock Air Base, which is co-located with Syracuse Hancock International Airport.
While taking photos of the protest, Grady Flores crossed a street briefly so a person could show her how to take photos with an iPhone — per the order of protection, a space she was not authorized to be in.
In Oct. 2012, she’d received an “order of protection” after she participated in a demonstration outside the base — controversial because many protesters say they’ve never met the man who filed the order of protection against them –Col. Earl Evans, the mission support group commander at the 174th Attack Wing of the New York Air National Guard.
They also questioned the language in the order saying they do not know how their peaceful demonstration caused harm or threatened Evans.
Grady Flores was originally sentenced to a year in prison, but the sentence was reduced to six months on Jan. 12.
She’s scheduled to appear at the town of DeWitt court at 5 p.m. Tuesday where she will be taken into custody.
The following is a news release about the sentencing from the The Upstate NY Coalition to Ground the Drones & End the Wars:
Ithaca, NY. On January 12, the National Day of Action to Stop Killer Drones, grandmother and drone resister Mary Anne Grady Flores learned that she is to go back to jail for six months starting Tuesday, January 19. She is to report to the Dewitt Town Court (5400 Butternut Drive, East Syracuse, NY) at 5pm to be remanded to Jamesville Correctional Facility, East Syracuse NY.
Mary Anne had been out on appeal of a lower court convicting her of violating an order of protection. It had been given on behalf of Col. Evans of the Hancock Air National Guard Base 174th Attack Wing (in Syracuse, NY), to “protect” him from nonviolent anti-drone activists. She had been charged with violating the order while taking pictures of eight Catholics protesting the US drone assassination program at Hancock on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013. Onondaga County Court Judge Miller upheld the lower court conviction. Of note is that all eight Catholic drone resisters were acquitted because they went to uphold law, not break it.
Orders of protection, typically given in domestic violence situations, have been used by the Court and the Base in an attempt to deter protest and suppress free speech. Judge Miller also upheld a lower court ruling on the Hancock 17, seventeen nonviolent drone resisters given orders of protection, jail time, and fines.
Mary Anne, a grandmother of three, has been a part of The Upstate Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars, resisting the drone assassination program since 2011. According to leaked military documents called the Drone Papers sent to the Intercept, 90% of drone assassinations target and kill civilians, including children. On the National Day of Action, drone resisters were arrested at Creech Air Force Base (Nevada), Beale AFB (California), and Volk AFB (Wisconsin), and Ramstein AFB, Germany and in Pakistan, all a part of the worldwide resistance to drones.
Mary Anne received the verdict and sentence by mail, even though she was originally told to appear in County Court on January 22 to hear the court’s decision. This may have been an attempt to prevent a full courtroom and press with cameras from attending, as occurred at the time of her original sentence.
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